Tag Archives: Christmas Eve

Of memories lost, remembered and why to be grateful for them

Christmas is all about memories…remembering those from the past and making new memories. Can you imagine not remembering the Christmases of your past?

Jeff Ingram doesn’t have those memories, or at least he can’t easily conjure them up in his mind. Holding an old Christmas ornament in his hand doesn’t quickly transport him to a childhood night of decorating a tree with his family. Ingram suffers from a type of amnesia called dissociative fugue. When he has an attack, his memory is wiped clean. That’s when his wife, Penny steps in. She is his memory. In a recent episode of NPR’s Story Corps, Jeff and Penny explained how she fills in the blanks.

It’s an amazing story. After listening to the podcast, memories just flooded back…from early childhood to my teenage years to college, then marriage and my own children from their early years to present.

Of course, the fact that it is a holiday season, my memories focused on Christmases past. I’ll bet my memories from our childhood years differ from those of my brothers. Thinking about these memories made me sad that Jeff Ingram cannot simply pull out these random thoughts, but his situation also made me grateful that I do have such happy memories as these…

Breakfast on Christmas morning always featured semmel, a simple German roll best slathered with homemade strawberry jam.

My doll, Ruthie, who got a new head every Christmas — over the years, she had brown, black, and blonde hair.

Getting to spend Christmas at my grandparents’ home in Indiana, with cousins we rarely saw because their parents were missionaries in Japan.

The green and white gingham two piece swim suit my mom made for me the year we went to visit our grandparents in Florida over Christmas.xmas girls

Red barrettes from my brother, Tom, who spent most of December in bed because of Scarlet Fever. It amazed me that he somehow managed to get me a present.

Christmas 1972 — we were living in St. Pete, Florida. What I remember is a warm, sun-dappled screened in porch with the ubiquitous Christmas tree.

The first Christmas with our oldest daughter, who was just a month shy of her first birthday. Her grandfather had made her a rocking horse. She spent most of her waking hours on Doodah.IMG_0333[1]

The first Christmas with our youngest daughter, just four months old. She was too young to appreciate the holiday and clearly displeased with Santa. By her second Christmas, she too was entranced with her very own rocking horse.

Over the years, there were the annual elementary school Christmas concerts (third grade recorders were a standout year for each daughter), followed by band and orchestra concerts, and in their senior year, each took a turn lighting the candles during the Christmas Eve service.

Memories. So many memories. Last year’s Christmas was a first for us as we celebrated away from home. One year ago tonight, the four of us attended midnight mass at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, featuring a small orchestra of professional musicians.

We’ll be making more memories in a few hours. I hope Jeff and Penny Ingram are making some of their own.

And there appeared a duo of Wise angel men

According to Luke 2, a Heavenly host of angels appeared on Christmas Eve. Well, technically, no one is sure of what time they appeared. But they did. And then, of course, along came the three Wise Men.

Okay, so today — Christmas Eve — two, well, let’s just call them Wise angel men, appeared at Bluffton Family Rec center, as I was running around the track. Anyone who uses the track on a regular basis knows that there are more holes than pegs in the two coat racks hanging on the walls. This becomes a bit of a problem in the winter when everyone shucks off their outerwear.

So in walked these two, heads bent over a bag of something. One pulled out a tube of glue, while the other pulled out a wooden peg. One smeared some glue on the peg and the other shoved the peg into the hole. Apparently, they’d forgotten a hammer, so looked through the box of “lost items” and came up with a heavy boot with which they proceeded to pound in the peg.

This continued for the next 10 minutes as they replaced about 10 pegs. That task done, they grinned at each other and took off on their usual trek around the track. And when they were done, as they were leaving the building, they cheerfully wished others a Merry Christmas.

Now, I’m not one to tell tales out of school, and I suspect these two hoped to remain anonymous. In fact, according to the daughter of one of the men (she happened to show up to run just after they finished), “it was probably driving them nuts.”

But let’s just say that these two both live on South Main Street, close to the Dari Freeze, graduated from Bluffton High School in the mid-60s, and are related by marriage. They call each other Tom and Sam.

Merry Christmas Eve!